By Jennifer Kotila
HOWARD LAKE, MN While many businesses in today’s economy are struggling, or holding their own, Howard Lake Tire and Auto has recently grown.
“It’s actually been pretty good for us. People are hanging on to their older cars and spending money repairing them,” said owner Ryan Hausladen.
Hausladen recently hired a new mechanic, Jeff Lhotka, who has an automotive service excellence (ASE) master technician certification from Dunwoody Institute.
Lhotka has more than 20 years of automotive repair experience, and an ASE master technician certification is the highest rank a mechanic can have for repairing vehicles, Hausladen said.
In order to receive ASE master technician certification, a mechanic must have mastered eight areas of auto repair: engine, automatic transmission and transaxle, manual drive-train and axles, suspension and steering, brakes, electrical and electrical systems, heating and air conditioning, and engine performance.
Along with hiring Lhotka, Hausladen also added an alignment machine and hoist, enabling the shop to do wheel alignments, as well as any other repairs a vehicle may need.
“We can now do full automotive repairs we’re a one-stop shop to do everything,” Hausladen said.
Also working at Howard Lake Tire and Auto is Hausladen’s brother, Danny, who does oil changes and light brake work.
Danny has worked at the shop for about three-and-one-half years, Hausladen said.
Hausladen has owned Howard Lake Tire and Auto since purchasing it from his father, Randy Hausladen, in 2006.
Although he has a construction background, he couldn’t let the opportunity to own his own business pass him by.
“It was a case of being in the right place at the right time,” Hausladen said.